The agriculture ministry said Tuesday it will send officials to 12 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture that were hit by the 2011 nuclear disaster to help farmers there resume agricultural production.

From April 2020, one official will be stationed in each of the 12 municipalities near Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant, including the facility’s two host towns.

The ministry officials will create teams with those from the prefectural government and local agricultural cooperatives.

The teams will hold discussions with local farmland owners and farmers hoping to expand their operations, in order to devise and implement farming resumption plans.

The ministry hopes to consolidate abandoned parcels of farmland in cooperation with local agriculture-related organizations, and start large-scale farming there using advanced equipment.

Due to the nuclear disaster, farming had been stopped on a total of 17,298 hectares of land in the 12 municipalities. As of the end of March 2018, farming had resumed on 4,345 hectares, only a quarter of the total.

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